A psychologist is a scientific professional who studies the mind and human behaviour, exploring general principle and specific cases. There are different types of psychologists. For the purposes of salary comparison, the Bureau of Labor Statistics makes three distinctions: clinical psychologists who diagnose and treat mental disorders (which can involve work in counselling and in schools), industrial psychologists who apply the science of the mind to personnel and management issues in workplaces, and other psychologists, such as social and environmental practitioners. In all cases, a psychologist's salary varies dependent upon the circumstances of her employment.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published its latest figures for psychologists working in America in May 2009. It listed the mean annual salary for a clinical psychologist as £47,001, equivalent to a monthly income of £3,916 or an hourly rate of £22.6. For industrial psychologists, the figures were £66,670 a year, £5,556 a month or £32.0 per hour, while all other specialisms were listed as receiving an average annual wage of £54,743, equivalent to £4,561 each month or an hourly rate of £26.3.
Salaries by Industry
For each of the categories of psychologist, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found significant variations in salary levels depending on the sector of the industry. Clinical psychologists received the best rates of pay if employed in consulting services -- £66,397 -- while an individual clinical psychologist was liable to receive just £45,253 if working in an outpatient care centre. Industrial psychologists received the highest wages from business schools and computer or management training firms -- £80,743 -- compared to £57,206 from scientific research and development services. Other psychologists were listed as earning high pay rates from the offices of physicians -- £71,207 -- while general medical and surgical hospitals paid only £58,142 per year.
Salaries by State
Different states offer different levels of salary to psychologists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' survey conducted in 2009, clinical psychologists receive the best pay rates in New Jersey -- £60,047 -- while New Mexico is among the lowest-payers -- £40,222. For industrial psychologists, the best average salaries are available in Florida -- £82,316 -- compared to Illinois, where mean annual pay is £41,775. Other psychologists find the highest pay rates in Arizona -- £65,715 -- as opposed to Rhode Island where salaries average at £39,156.
Salaries by Area
Significant variations in pay are also observed on a smaller geographical scale -- that of single metropolitan areas. Greeley, Colorado, is listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as offering the highest wages -- £110,682 -- to clinical psychologists, while the College Station/Bryan district of Texas is listed at just £26,305. The most lucrative location for an industrial psychologist is the Minneapolis/St Paul/Bloomington area of Minnesota -- £80,879 -- while the Houston/Sugar Land/Baytown area in Texas offers just £54,613. Other psychologists receive the best wages in Salinas, California -- £108,355 -- while the Brockton/Bridgewater/Easton area of Massachusetts offers a mean annual salary of £50,661.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the employment market for psychologists of all types to grow by approximately 12 per cent in the decade between 2008 and 2018. Increased demand for psychological services across many sectors of society, particularly schools, hospitals, social services, mental health centres, substance abuse treatment facilities, consulting firms, and private companies, will fuel this growth. The BLS cautions that psychology is a popular profession to work in and competition for vacancies will be keen. As such, salary levels should remain competitive without increasing drastically.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Psychologists
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages - Psychologists, All Other
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages - Clinical, Councseling and School Psychologists
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages - Industrial-Organizational Psychologists
- State University: Psychologist Job Description